Clean investments in U.S. doing far better than fossil fuel stocks since 2017

first_imgClean investments in U.S. doing far better than fossil fuel stocks since 2017 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Fossil fuel never had a better friend in the White House than Donald Trump. So why, two years into his presidency, are investors favoring public companies devoted to renewable energy and giving the Bronx cheer to the coal, gas and oil crowd?Trump campaigned against the scientific consensus on climate change and promised to repeal any regulation that impeded the exploration, drilling, mining and burning of traditional energy. Since his inauguration on Jan. 24, 2017, he rescinded the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, the Interior Department’s moratorium on new coal mining on public land, and President Barack Obama’s 2013 climate action plan and 2015 climate mitigation efforts. He withdrew from the Paris agreement signed by 195 countries in 2015, revived construction of the Keystone XL pipeline connecting Canada’s oil sands to Gulf Coast refineries, and increased by 600 percent the public land (not to mention coastal waters) for lease by oil and gas companies.Yet with all of these incentives, fossil fuel is a rare loser in the stock market since Trump took office. And that’s after oil appreciated 15%. The 170 companies in the Russell 3000 Energy Index, most of which engage in oil and gas, are down 12% during the first administration to declare global warming a hoax. The Russell 3000, meanwhile, gained 27% and technology, its best-performing sector, rallied 53%, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.As lucrative as the overall stock market has been for investors during the past two years, clean-technology shares have done even better. The 89 major publicly traded U.S. firms identified by Bloomberg New Energy Finance as deriving at least 10 percent of their revenue from the business of renewable energy, energy efficiency or clean technology have returned 50%since Trump’s first day in the Oval Office.Free-market capitalists seek profits wherever they see the potential for exceptional growth, and they’re reaping a bonanza from the cleanest companies. Ameresco Inc., a firm based in Framingham, Massachusetts that develops renewable-energy projects, almost doubled its value to $15 a share during the Trump presidency. Vivint Solar Inc., a Lehi, Utah-based installer of renewable-energy equipment, appreciated 98%. Cree Inc., the Durham, North Carolina producer of energy-efficient environmental lighting, surged 121%, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.What did traditional energy companies do for their shareholders during the same period with Trump as the cheerleader-in-chief? Irving, Texas-based Exxon Mobil Corp. gained 1%. Kinder Morgan Inc., the pipeline transportation and energy storage company based in Houston, lost 1%. Peabody Energy Corp., based in St. Louis, declined 4% since it was restructured in April 2017, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.More: Trump likes fossil fuels. Investors don’t.last_img read more

Ski Highway

first_img At the top, ready to drop. Will Fanning of Brazenhead Mountain State Brewing Co Snow in the Potomac Highlands of West Virginia and Maryland has been known to fall anytime from October through April, and in several spots the annual snowfall has averaged nearly 200 inches. So load up the four-wheel-drive vehicle of your choice and hit the highway. Starting near Linwood, W.Va. and running north to McHenry, Md., Highway 219 passes five ski resorts and nearby towns loaded with great restaurants, bars, and music. You can even get a dose of backcountry skiing in along the way. This is ski highway.Day One: SnowshoeGrub, Drinks, Music Highway 219 drops into Linwood, W.Va., at the base of Snowshoe Mountain Resort. There you’ll find Elk River Touring Center, including the Elk River Inn, Restaurant, and Ski and Snowboard rental gear shop. Last month, they expanded their operations to include the Fiddlehead Bar and Restaurant located smack in the foothills of Snowshoe Ski Resort. The Fiddlehead is brand spankin’ new and already offers a steady schedule of live music. New Year’s Eve weekend featured the Davisson Brothers Band and Vern’s Pot of Chili, two great acts out of the West Virginia mountains.The Fiddlehead offers upscale bar food and great beers, both of which are a worthy accompaniment to a night of friends and live music. The locally-supplied trout sandwich is delicious, but you just can’t go wrong with three-dollar Mahi Mahi fish tacos. The brew highlights are their three featured taps from West Virginia’s own Mountain State Brewing Company. Try the crisp, hoppy deliciousness of the Seneca Indian Pale Ale.The Place to CrashIn 1998 Will Fanning and his two sons began working on a pine-log structure that would become the Brazenhead Inn in Mingo, W.Va., named for the oldest pub in Fanning’s hometown of Dublin, Ireland. It’s just seven miles north from Snowshoe up Highway 219.  Brazenhead is old-school; if you’re looking for flatscreens and shot-skis, you’ve come to the wrong place. But the inn is truly steeped in charm and features a traditional Irish-style pub and a dense musical heritage reflecting on the Fanning’s family background. Guinness and Smithwicks are always on tap, along with traditional Irish Whiskies behind the bar for a nightcap. But the highlight sits just alongside the bar. While they regularly house live music, they also stock a piano, fiddle, banjo, accordion, guitar, and a handful of other instruments already set out in a small bar corner with a few stools for anybody to sit down for a jam session anytime. Fanning and his wife will join you if you ask.The cozy rooms boast a cabin feel, with old-timey pictures and paintings on the wooden walls and not much more than a bed, a place to wash up, and a dresser with some select reading material. No cable here, fellas. If you’re coming here, you’re coming for music, character, skiing, and the Brazenhead spirit.Snowshoe BackcountryWhen Snowshoe resort is lacking snowfall, there’s usually snow along the stretch of the Highlands Scenic Highway, the highest major roadway in West Virginia, which runs through the Monongahela National Forest. The road remains unplowed for the winter and is a popular spot for cross country skiers, but downhill adventure-seekers drive up the scenic byway as far as possible. About three miles up the highway, just off Highway 219 and east of the Cranberry Wilderness, there are some north-facing stashes that hold snow all winter long, just waiting to be shredded.“You can hit Shearers Run Loop, the Warming Hut, or Red Lick, which is four miles and pops back out onto the Scenic Highway,” says local mountain bike and cross-country ski guide Greg Moore.If you’re more likely to stick to the resort area, you’ve got options there too. From the Top of the Mountain area at Snowshoe there is a stash of backcountry playland locally known as the Old Hawthorn Slopes (named for the previous name of the golf course) that run all the way down to the base of Snowshoe. They are steep, extreme, and often shrub-covered, but on the right day, there’s some serious terrain waiting to be carved. Leave a car at the bottom, head back to the parking lot at the Top of the Mountain area, and access it next to the heli-pad.For more information about Snowshoe Mountain, check out http://basecamp.blueridgeoutdoors.com/?p=2543Scenes from the Ski Highway: Day Two: The Valley (Timberline, Canaan, White Grass resorts)Grub, Drinks, MusicIf you’re heading to any of the three ski resorts that surround this area (Timberline, Canaan, or White Grass), look no further than Davis and Thomas, W.Va. Highway 219 will drop you right into Thomas, the northern town of the two sister towns, which are only a couple miles apart. The tourism industry has been good to these old mining and logging towns, and today there are almost too many great places to hang out.For a brewpub hop, start in Davis at the Blackwater Brewing Company. They feature Italian and German cuisine, the latter of which features generational family recipes handed down by the mother of the original owner, Rosalinde Benson. Get some quality grub into the ol’ belly before the night begins, then dig into the beers. Blackwater features six beers all brewed behind the bar in their three-barrel micro-brewing system, including a wheat beer, a gold ale, a marzen, an Indian pale ale, a porter and a stout. Try the stout (arguably their forte). It’s bold and smoky with almost a hint of a chocolaty body that goes down quite smoothly. The place has been taken over by brewer Lincoln Wilkins, a man who has returned to his native home for good. A traditional Belgian/German style brewer, Wilkins plans to expand the reach of Blackwater beer here beyond the pub and experiment with new brews.Make your hop from Davis up into Thomas to find Mountain State Brewing Company. Grab a homemade pepperoni roll—a traditional snack reminiscent of the early West Virginia mining days when the rolls were introduced and made famous in the state. They are a West Virginia staple made by, well, baking pepperoni into a yeast bread roll; simple, yet truly satisfying and a perfect prelude to a beer brewed in-house. If you’ve already tried their IPA, perhaps now is the time to go for the Miner’s Daughter Oatmeal Stout. There’s no better way to enjoy an oatmeal stout than perched on a saw-horse converted into a barstool in a small, dark, timber-raftered pub with a beautiful copper bar top and a warm, down-to-earth vibe. Check their schedule: if you arrive on the right night, you’ll be treated to live music in the dance-hall connected to the bar.The Place to CrashThe Douglas Falls Bed and Breakfast, located just a mile or so outside of Thomas, is a quaint B&B and as peaceful a place as you can ask for. It’s fairly luxurious (on the inside, which is what counts, right?), for the price. Walk out the front door to take a stroll down the Blackwater Canyon Trail along the river. About a quarter mile up from the inn is the 35-foot Douglas Waterfall on the North Fork of the Blackwater River—not a bad way to spend a morning.Back at the inn, enjoy the clawfoot tub in your room for a hot bath after a day on the slopes, or just step outside and make use of the jacuzzi. In the morning you’re served fresh, homemade breakfasts: apple pancakes or freshly baked quiche, coffee, sausage, freshly sliced fruits. After breakfast hit the road and you’re only 15 minutes from Timberline, Canaan, or White Grass ski areas.White Grass BackcountryWhite Grass Ski Touring Center is the cross-country mecca for Nordic skiers in West Virginia, or even the whole Southeast for that matter. Owner Chip Chase has created something unique in the small-time, easygoing atmosphere that White Grass embodies. He’s a cross-country ski bum at heart, but feels there is a growing scene between alpine-touring skiers, Nordic skiers, telemark skiers, downhill skiers, and snowboarders alike.“White Grass creates this little energy field of trust, love, independence and just an affection for the outdoors without being pretentious or rule-oriented or grumpy or expensive,” says Chase.White Grass is known for its fantastic cross country skiing and technique of snow farming (special fences are used to gather excess snow for cross country skiing), but there’s interest for adventure seekers looking for downhill backcountry as well. On the mountain behind the small lodge is a stash of impressive glades hand-carved out of the forests coming down towards the lodge. These glades boast 900 vertical feet of playland just waiting for ambitious skiers or snowboarders to hike it. With the lodge right at the bottom renting snowshoes and serving delicious food, you’re set.“A lot of volunteering goes into clearing this backcountry out here,” says Chase. “All the best spots coming down from the trails on the top of the mountain have been cleared out.”Day Three: Canaan Valley Grub, Drinks, MusicThe Purple Fiddle has housed The Avett Brothers four times and continues to book great bands from all around the region, drawing lively crowds every single weekend. They’ve got a large selection of food and a noteworthy selection of beer (featuring Mountain State Brewing Company on tap), but here the beer, the food, the picker’s décor, the foot-stompin’ knee-slappin’ music, and the good-natured people are all muddled into one big scene, and the only way to truly experience it is just to go. It’s truly a special experience to be standing on the worn, creaky, century-old wood floor with a mason jar full of cold beer in your hand watching bands that should probably be playing larger venues jamming away on the store-front-window stage.Upcoming shows include Trees on Fire (Feb. 8); Dangermuffin (Feb. 18); Caravan of Thieves (March 12); and Bryan Elijah Smith & The Wild Hearts (March 17).The Place to CrashNext door to the Fiddle is a turn-of-the-century duplex named the Fiddler’s Roost, which has been converted into a cheap place of lodging for those on the lower end of the road-budget.  They have five private rooms, which share bathroom facilities, as well as a communal lounge area and small kitchen area for everybody to use. It’s all part of the magical atmosphere that exists at the Purple Fiddle. The old Victorian buildings that line the streets of Thomas were once run-down, but now house packed storefronts and thriving businesses. Stop into one of the art galleries like The White Room. If you’re hungry, you’ve got options like The Flying Pig, a quaint and attractive dog-friendly breakfast and lunch eatery featuring locally grown farm-to-table produce. Or swing over to Davis for dinner at Sirianni’s Café, a local staple—a must-do on the pizza list. At the Fiddler’s Roost, look for rooms starting at $45 during the week, or head up on a weekend and catch some foot-stompin’ tunes with rooms starting at $65.Canaan / Timberline BackcountryCanaan Valley Ski Area has a long black diamond called the Dark Side of the Moon, which veers way out to the west side of the mountain. It also guards a stash of old runs that now lay dormant where the resort once existed.Keep going beyond the Dark Side of the Moon and you’ll get into what they call The Spoon. On powder days, work your way across the flats and through the woods, then bust out to the headwall where the old ski lift was. When you get to the bottom, follow an access road and walk a quarter mile back up to the functioning lift. “It’s really fun. It’s a combination of old ski areas that were never connected but get linked by adventuresome alpine skiers,” says White Grass owner Chip Chase.Another spot for backcountry action is the gas pipeline off the back of Canaan Resort. The pipeline runs both north and south of the resort, but the southeast area is where you want to hit it. Ride down a narrow, open gap in the trees as it drops about 2,000 feet in elevation all the way down to Laneville where you’ll hit a field that opens back up to County Route 45. Plan ahead and leave a car there. There are some steep bowls in there that can hold a lot of snow if the conditions are ripe.At Timberline, there’s some good sidecountry where you can get out into the woods and come back around to the runs again to reach the bottom and still catch a lift ride back up. If you take Salamander Run from the top, you can sneak back into the woods for some good riding, but you’ve got to be careful not to go too far out or you’ll end up in the Dolly Sods Wilderness. If you ski to the right side of Salamander, work your way around the bend, loosely following the curvature of the run through the woods to ride down some woody terrain, eventually popping yourself back out on the steeper part of Salamander to get back to the bottom.For more information about Canaan Valley Resort, check out http://basecamp.blueridgeoutdoors.com/?p=2545Day Four: WispGrub, Drinks, MusicThe last stop on Ski Highway is Wisp Resort, situated just next to the small town of McHenry and right beside Deep Creek Lake. Whether you’re up on the slopes of Wisp or on a backcountry mission, time is well spent here.Mountain State Brewing Company has their second location here, but you’re not necessarily going for just the beer and pepperoni rolls. Walking into the place, you’ll notice the toasty, cabin-fire feel of the place given off by the home-made natural soapstone hearth pizza oven, where they produce hand-thrown artisan pies. The best seller is the Fire on the Mountain pizza, a chipotle hot sauce and sausage masterpiece. If you’re really diggin’ the slope-side campfire spirit of winter ski life, you can try the Smores: nutella, marshmallows, and graham crackers toasted in the wood-fired oven.Afterward, mosey on over to the Blackbear Tavern and Restaurant, the highlight of nightlife in McHenry, especially if you’re looking for a big sports-bar-style tavern, large crowds of partygoers, and the option for tavern-based or club-based live music. They’ve got a huge wrap-around bar in the center, pool tables and other bar games to keep you busy, and a bunch of great taps including the rich Old Dominion Bourbon Barrel Stout, which fits the surf-and-turf menu. The motto here is “Eat, Drink, Dance.”The Place to CrashThe Lake Pointe Inn Bed & Breakfast is right off Highway 219 in the heart of McHenry and boasts an outdoor fire pit and wraparound porch with views of the lake. They’ll pamper you with complimentary snacks and drinks, available massages, and Egyptian-cotton towels and Italian linens. They offer discounted lift tickets to Wisp and lend out their own outdoor gear, including snowshoes for winter trail hikes. Sure, they get over 100 inches of snow per-annum and it’s going to be cold out on the slopes, but what’s cold got to do with it when your room has a fireplace waiting to warm you when you get back?Wisp BackcountryIf you’re heading up to Wisp, there are plenty of places within the resort where you can sneak off the trails and get some woods-runs in, allowing the luxury of a lift ride back up. Or you can always scout the endless gas and power lines that run the mountains surrounding the area.Just 20 miles east from Wisp on the south end of the Savage River Reservoir in the Savage River State Forest, there’s a huge, straight, perfectly northwest-facing ridgeline that plateaus at just under 3,000 feet elevation. The ridgeline is host to five wide-open bowls, each averaging about 1,000 feet of steep vertical, perfect for hike-to adventure seekers. Worried about access? Park at the boat launch: there’s a railroad that runs right along the bottom of the entire set.“We typically either bootpack or skin up,” says Eric Recker, a local fly-fishing guide and ski instructor. “You can ski all five of those bowls. When you’re at the bottom you just hit the train tracks whichever way you need to go.”Recker recommends waiting for a decent snow base followed by a good freezing rain layer to avoid tearing up your gear.“It’s steep. Steep steep. We’ve triggered slides back there before. But that’s why we go there,” Recker says. “They’re northwest facing, have huge mature timber and no low growth. Everything’s wide open. There’s no brushy stuff that you’ll hit. We haven’t cleared anything. It’s just naturally like that.”For more information about Wisp Resort, http://basecamp.blueridgeoutdoors.com/?p=2562 Ski Highway The instruments of Brazenhead. Fiddler's Roost Shredding the backcountry Purple Fiddle White Grass Blackwater Brewery's Lincoln Wilkins Brazenheadlast_img read more

Daily Dirt: March 21, 2013

first_imgYour outdoor news for March 21, 2013:New Routes Go Up in the New River GorgeIn a great post on DPM Climbing, Mike Williams reports that new trad routes are going up in the New River Gorge. Focusing on popular Thunder Buttress of Beauty Mountain, Williams tells the tale of how Pat Goodman claimed the first ascent of Gun Control, a variation off of the established Gun Club. It’s great to see new things being done in a place like the New, where folks have been climbing since the 80’s; refreshing to know that there still remains undiscovered and unconquered territory out there. One of the things I love about climbing pieces is the names of the routes. Some highlights from this post are: The Thundering Herd, The Golden Bullet, In Gold Blood, and That’s What She Said. I also love stories written by climbers for all the climbing jargon and especially this one because it tells the story of a first ascent through the history of the place and the lives of the people who climb it.Snowboarding Industry SummitSo reports from this winter indicate that the snowboard industry is in decline, while the ski industry is ticking up, meaning that young peoples in general are picking up skiing and sticking with it longer than snowboarding. When those in the industry learned this, some flew off the handle, but most took the news calmly enough even if they were tearing out their eyeballs in private about the death of snowboarding AS WE KNOW IT! A decline in snowboarding interest is especially important on the East Coast where the sport has traditionally been as popular – if not more popular- than skiing because it was cool and different. But now that the two styles/attitudes/punks have leaked into each discipline, the lines are blurred and snowboarding is losing out. The leaders of the industry met in Deer Valley last week at the TransWorld Conference to hash out what the sport has to do to keep growing and stop retracting. This was no emergency Situation Room type of thing – it happens every year – but the emphasis this year was definitely on the sport as a whole and not just the brands behind the curtain. We’ll see what the big players come up with next season to reflect this trend. This past season we saw Burton launch a huge “Learn to Ride” program for the kids, so expect more of that. Get ’em hooked young.You can read the full recap of the conference here.Public Support for Keystone WaningAccording to a new poll for the Center of Biological Diversity by Public Policy Polling, 61 percent of those who voted for President Obama in the last election would be “disappointed” or “betrayed” if he goes ahead with the Keystone XL Pipeline. Almost 75 percent of the general public thought the Keystone XL is not in the U.S.’s “best interest.” Plenty more numbers in this story from the Sierra Club.last_img read more

The Paddler Bucket List

first_imgKayaking is a sport that changes lives.  Few people know where it will take them when the current first sweeps them away, but no one is ever the same. While every day on the river is special, there are certain experiences that stand out as unforgettable. Here is my list of 12 of these bucket list experiences.1. Nail your first combat roll.After many, many frustrating swims, the first time a paddler holds it together and rolls back up from chaos into sunlight is exhilarating beyond belief. Suddenly there is a self-sufficiency that wasn’t there before, many new rivers open up, and the learning curve skyrockets.Bonus tip: Create good habits in the beginning by seeking quality instruction. It’s much easier to create good habits than break bad ones.2. Run Nantahala Falls.Probably the most famous class III benchmark rapid in the world, Nantahala Falls is a huge stepping stone for beginner kayakers. It represents the first stride into the world of technical whitewater, and it can either be a great confidence booster or a sobering reminder of the river’s power. Fortunately it is a safe swim downstream, and your line will be immortalized by the paparazzi and crowd that forms on the shore during any summer weekend!Bonus tip: Whatever river features you encounter, square them up and hit them with speed.3. Surf Z-Dam.A premier playspot in the Southeast, Z-Dam is a symmetrical hole in Richmond, Va., that is perfect for every manner of trick. Paddlers spending some time there can perfect their spins, cartwheels, loops, phoenix monkeys, and every other hole trick imaginable. Couple this with several other excellent rapids under the Richmond skyline, and you have a great day on the river.Bonus tip: Try not to get shown up by 12-year-old local, Isaac Hull.4. Successfully execute a first descent.First descents represent the transition of theory into reality, one of the most special experiences a paddler can have. Many boaters think that First Ds are only for the top-level pros, but the reality is that new runs and rapids are always out there waiting to be discovered. All you need is the desire to explore.Bonus tip: Be wary of the legal ramifications of accessing and running stretches of river.5. Attend Gauley Fest.With over 5,000 kayakers in attendance, Gauley Fest is the biggest gathering of river people in the world. This event occurs every September, and it also happens to be the largest fundraiser for American Whitewater, a nonprofit that secures access and releases for hundreds of rivers throughout the nation.Bonus tip: Camp away from the center of the fairgrounds, and bring earplugs.6. Paddle in our nation’s capital.D.C. drips of legacy in this sport.  The first waterfall ever run in a kayak was part of the Great Falls section of the Potomac, and that community has long been host to Olympic athletes and world-class extreme racers.  Paddlers of all abilities can enjoy the waters of the Potomac, from paddling flatwater through some of the nation’s most iconic monuments to the peacefulness of class-III Mather Gorge and the maelstrom of class-V Great Falls.Bonus tip: If you have them, bring multiple different craft. There are creek lines, surf waves, and attainment eddies. The only limitation is your own energy.7. Compete in the Green Narrows Race.One of the most prestigious extreme races in the world, the Green Race now boasts over 150 competitors and over 1,000 spectators every year. The experience of paddling into the Green’s marquee rapid, Gorilla, is in my mind the closest that we can come to being a gladiator entering the Coliseum.Bonus tip: Spend equal time learning the lines of the river and honing your fitness.  You’re going to need both.8. Squirtboat in the Halls of Karma on the New River Gorge.Squirtboating is a niche within a niche in the sport of kayaking.  It involves paddling extremely low volume kayaks and using the currents of eddy interfaces to submerge both boat and paddler in the depths. Once underwater, the appeal becomes apparent, and real-world stresses wash away as you experience the river in a more intimate way than ever before.Bonus tip: Pop a few Ibuprofen beforehand; those boats hurt.9. Spend a day training with slalom gates.As far as improving the foundational skills that will be used in perpetuity as a kayaker, there are few things as effective as weaving in and out of slalom gates on whitewater.  As paddlers push the limits of the sport further than ever before, the basics can sometimes be overlooked.  Slalom gates allow a return to these skills by creating class-V moves in class-II water.Bonus tip: Try to get your hands on a fiberglass slalom boat or a snappy plastic equivalent like the Dagger RPM.10. Ride the USNWC conveyor belt.This is everyone’s dream: a whitewater playground that can be run a limitless number of times. The conveyor belt is a true luxury, and is worth experiencing by any paddler at least once.  After you’ve worn yourself out with endless laps of the Comp and Wilderness channels, grab some food and a beer.Bonus tip: Bring multiple boats.11. Run a waterfall.This is the most aesthetic aspect of kayaking: paddling off a cascade and into the plunge pool below.  Approaching a horizon line where the water falls out of sight is an experience only a paddler can have, and it is something that keeps us mesmerized for life. The thrill is the same no matter what the skill level or height of the drop- all that is needed is for your own limits to be pushed.Bonus tip: A few of the best beginner waterfalls in the Southeast are Valley Falls (Md.), Baby Falls (Tenn.), Hooker Falls (N.C.) and Second Ledge on the Chattooga in Georgia.12. Do a dawn patrol.  There’s no better place than on the river to welcome the dawn of a new day. Follow blue herons into the mist as the sun rises.  The possibilities are limitless when you are willing to get up early.Bonus tip: Try to wipe that perma-grin off your face in the office afterwards… no need to make your coworkers feel bad about their lives.SUP & Canoe Bucket List MentionsPaddle the French Broad Canoe TrailRecently developed by the French Broad Riverkeeper, the 140-mile French Broad Canoe Trail is an excellent opportunity to experience the North Carolina mountains from the water.Race in the Carolina CupThe Carolina Cup is the East Coast’s most competitive SUP event.  It is a perfect place to get a feel for the sport, try out the latest products, and brush shoulders with the best athletes in the world.  From beginners to pros, there is something for everyone.Go for a SUP paddle under the SupermoonThe longest day of the year coincides with the moon’s closest proximity to Earth.  This results in an exceptionally bright full moon, and is the perfect opportunity to go for a night-time paddle. There’s nothing in the world like cutting through glass on a beautiful lake or river with the full moon overhead.last_img read more

Op-Ed: Pit Bulls Make Great Outdoor Companions

first_img“Aggressive breed,” a dangerous misnomer, has caused unnecessary deaths for pit bulls all over the nation.Breeds like Pit Bulls, Boxers, Rottweilers, and Doberman Pinschers are more likely to cause fear and harsh judgment from passersby. This is because of a long history of dog fighting and fake news.Pit Bulls, however, have gotten the worst of it. Likely you, without a second thought, steer clear; apartments and rental homes won’t allow them; even shelters are reluctant to take them in.Many will argue that these dogs are bred for fighting.They’ll cite recent dog attacks to credit themselves, but what we tend to ignore is why these dogs are known to attack in the first place.In an interview with Bronwen Dickey, author of Pit Bull the Battle over an American Icon, Simon Worrall asks her about the aggressiveness of the breed, to which she replies, “it’s not one breed, it’s four. There’s the American Pit Bull terrier; the American Staffordshire terrier, which was the American Kennel Club conformation breed…. There’s the Staffordshire bull terrier, which has been a conformation breed since the 1930s; and the newer breed called the American bully, which was derived from the American Staffordshire terrier in the 1990s.”While the first, the American Pit Bull terrier, was known to be a fighting dog, the other three were show dogs.However, many people will put any dog with a big head and short hair into the “Pit Bull” category. Therefore, creating the myth that many dog attacks are the responsibility of this breed.During WWI and the Depression, these dogs were popular with blue collar workers. They were all-American dogs, easy and average. However, in the 1950s, kennel club breeds became the American favorite, and Pit Bulls were mostly forgotten.Later, in the 1970s, a social movement to end illegal dog fighting caused a media boom where dogs made the front page of every paper.Unintentionally, they created wild myths about fighting dogs, like their extremely powerful jaw pressure. As the American public became more frightened and intrigued, the reputation of Pit Bulls became worse and worse.Today, dog fighting is still a problem but is slowing significantly.Nevertheless, the national fear of Pit Bulls persists. Many shelters reject them, cops will shoot them onsite regardless of what they’re doing, and many are too afraid to adopt them. In order to fight this stigma and offer a home to these sweet dogs, local Asheville shelter, Brother Wolf, has not only taken in “aggressive dogs,” but kept them in their care until they are rehabilitated and adoption ready.Carissa Collinge, the volunteer manager at Brother Wolf, explains that since BWAR’s foundation in 2007, the live release rate for Buncombe County went up exponentially, from 36% to its current 95%. Brother Wolf’s anti-euthanasia policy has helped it achieve its 95.7% live release rate.They are known for taking in the “top 10%” of the most challenging dogs: the ones who need the most behavioral correction, rehabilitation, and socialization. They typically have 50-80 dogs in the shelter at a time, and 400-500 dogs in their foster system. They can house and rehabilitate so many dogs because of their volunteers and foster parents.Collinge estimated they have about 2,000 volunteers who were active within the last 6 months, and BWAR couldn’t have supported so many animals without them. They help change the reputation of dogs by putting their volunteers through extensive training in order to handle their most difficult dogs. Many of the dogs that come into their care are traumatized or nervous. Abandoned dogs can lose trust in people and become aggressive. In order to change this behavior, the dogs have to be resocialized and rehabilitated through positive reinforcement. The purpose of these shelters and programs are to never give up on a dog, regardless of breed.According to the Save-A-Bull Rescue website, Pit Bulls are not only the most euthanized breed but also the most bred in America.This means they not only are they getting killed at alarming rates, they’re experiencing extreme overpopulation. There are an estimated 3-5 million Pits in America, 33% are in shelters. “About 75% of municipal shelters euthanize Pit Bulls immediately upon intake, without them ever having any chance at adoption,” that’s 1 million Pits per year. Only about one in 600 Pits born in America will ever have a loving home.So what can we do?Spay, neuter, educate, and volunteer. Many shelters don’t have the ability to be no-kill because of overcrowding and the pet trade– people would rather get pet store or purebred puppies than shelter dogs. However, shelters like Brother Wolf who have a complex network of volunteers, takes advantage of foster parents in order to have enough space for all of their dogs.What many people don’t realize is that all dogs share about 99.8% of their DNA, they’re all the same species. Meaning, the slight differences that make them either a Pit Bull or a Chihuahua, doesn’t make them more or less aggressive.Likely, you have a local No-kill shelter too. In order to save the precious lives of our beloved best friends, spread the word. Fight stigma and help out your local shelter.last_img read more

Violence In Latin America Is An “Epidemic,” OAS Secretary-General Says

first_imgBy Dialogo August 26, 2010 It is true that the violence was not overcome, but we have to get to the bottom of the real causes i.e.: the unfairness, the injustice in land occupancy, the different ways to call poverty in towns; shanties, shacks, small farms etc. Today, the old school politicians don’t fulfill the ideas and expectations of the citizens. These urgently need to have the day-to-day living problems solved; water, electricity, health, housing, education, citizen protection, laws of the land that promote this. The political parties that have failed were because they did not deliver on the promises made to the citizens but replaced them with their own political party’s interests. Violence in a country is due to unsatisfactory demands and uncontrolled corruption. A country should have a par excellence Executive, Legislative and Judicial Power independent and free of corruption, and transparency laws for fiscal organizations. These days it is not uncommon in a country with excessive violence for its Armed forces to intervene in order to assist the local police. The European Economic Community was formed in order to form an economic block with its own currency and it has succeeded in raising the economic status of its members. Because of the number of inhabitants, China is a self-sufficient Asian Economic Community. North and South America, Central America and Canada should think about forming an economic Block for the XXII century, “Unity is Strength”. The violence in some Latin American countries with high murder rates can be compared to an “epidemic,” the secretary-general of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, declared. Insulza said in San José that of the ten countries around the world where the most crimes are committed, “more than half” are in Latin America, and that if the murder rates in some cities in the region were calculated applying the standards of the World Health Organization (WHO), the violence would be classified as an epidemic. “There are a number of (Latin American) cities in which (violence) is a true epidemic that at some point we should confront,” Insulza declared Monday evening while lecturing at the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights, headquartered in the Costa Rican capital. Latin America is experiencing “a crime wave the likes of which our region has never known,” the OAS secretary-general said. He said that the WHO declares an epidemic in a country when a disease causes more than 100 deaths per million inhabitants, and that homicides exceed this level in nine cities in the region, which he did not specify. Insulza said that even if Latin America has not suffered prolonged wars between countries since Bolivia and Paraguay confronted one another in the Chaco War in the 1930s, the number of homicides committed every year in some countries exceeds the number of deaths in some wars. Although he avoided mentioning countries or cities, he said that even if the human rights situation in Honduras has improved “in part” since the end of the de-facto regime that governed following the 2009 coup d’état, the country’s rate of 59 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants raises doubts about that progress. “It’s hard to know what is the origin” of so many death in Honduras, Insulza affirmed, adding that the violence “is an attack on security and health and corrupts our democracy” in Latin America.last_img read more

Colombia Committed to Changes in Haiti as Part of UN Security Council

first_img On 13 October, the Colombian government celebrated its election as a member of the United Nations Security Council and expressed its commitment to promoting “true changes in Haiti,” in the words of Foreign Minister María Angela Holguín. “We want to give a big push forward to an issue the Council is working on, which is Haiti. We want to push from Latin America and the Caribbean, where we are the representatives and spokespersons, so that the situation in Haiti changes,” the minister affirmed, speaking to private radio stations. “What Haiti needs is a push in this direction, a further stage of reconstruction, and this is going to be an issue that’s very important for us,” the foreign minister emphasized, after explaining that although her country is seeking to contribute its experience with several issues, it will not bring new issues before the body. “We’re going to be there to participate with enthusiasm, but with the Council’s agenda. There are already established issues there. We want to get deeply involved in the issue of Haitian reconstruction and do as much as possible, but we’re not going to bring new issues before the Council,” she concluded. Sectors of the Colombian Congress called on the government Wednesday to bring the issue of the fight against drug trafficking and the principle of co-responsibility up for debate in the international body. “Colombia’s first task in the Security Council must be to raise the topic of the fight against drugs that our region, and especially Colombia, has had to take on for many years, while the efforts of the consuming countries continue to be minimal,” Sen. Alexandra Moreno told AFP. Senator Moreno, vice-president of the Senate, alleged that her country “cannot continue standing up against the drug-trafficking mafias, spraying its fields, and making canon fodder out of peasants who today are doing manual eradication, while consumption continues unchecked in the consuming countries.” Analysts consulted by AFP characterized Colombia’s election as a significant diplomatic achievement by Santos’s administration, but they emphasized that the administration will have little room to maneuver in introducing novel issues. “It’s the first great international achievement by President Juan Manuel Santos, who received a regionally isolated and controversial country from his predecessor, Alvaro Uribe, and in only two months succeeded in obtaining massive backing for the country’s candidacy,” international-relations expert Ricardo Abello judged. Abello, of the private University of the Rosary, urged the president “to carefully design a diplomatic strategy to take advantage of this position on the Council,” as he said, “not in order to introduce local issues, but rather in order to obtain greater international backing for the country’s interests.” Holguín’s declarations followed President Juan Manuel Santos’s commitment, announced Tuesday, to make his country “the voice of Latin America and the Caribbean on the Security Council.” “In us they will find a country ready to listen, to engage in dialogue, and to search for solutions. In addition, Colombia will have a special responsibility when dealing with issues of international peace and security,” the Colombian president emphasized. Santos offered his country’s experience in the fight against transnational crime and against terrorism as a basis on which to “make major contributions as part of the group of fifteen countries that, from their position at the heart of the UN, debate and decide about the future of conflicts and situations that can put world peace and security at risk,” he said. With 186 votes in favor and none against in the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly, Colombia was elected Tuesday as a non-permanent member of the Security Council, which it will join on 1 January 2011 for a two-year term, replacing Mexico. Together with Brazil, Colombia will represent Latin America on the UN’s executive body. The Security Council has fifteen members, five of which are permanent and have veto power (China, France, Great Britain, Russia, and the United States). By Dialogo October 18, 2010last_img read more

Santos Calls for French Journalist’s Prompt Release

first_imgBy Dialogo May 08, 2012 In a statement on May 6, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos called for the prompt release of French journalist Romeo Langlois, in the power of the narco-terrorist group FARC since April 28. “I’m extremely glad to know that the French journalist is in good condition. The FARC has already acknowledged that they’re holding him, and I call on them to release him as soon as possible,” Santos, who is on a visit to Singapore, said according to the statement by his office. The president stated that his administration “is willing to facilitate [the process] so that this release can take place as soon as possible, but if they really want to make a good impression on the world, they should just release him and simply tell us where he is, and we’ll go get him.” These statements follow the release of a video in which a FARC guerrilla confirms that Langlois is in the group’s power, admits that he is a French journalist, and expresses his hope that “we will soon get beyond this impasse.” Thirty-five-year-old Langlois was working on a story for the France 24 television network in the department of Caquetá (in southern Colombia) on April 28, when the Military patrol with which he was travelling was attacked by guerrillas. The journalist suffered a wound in one arm and is believed to have surrendered to the rebels, identifying himself as a civilian, according to accounts by Soldiers who were accompanying him. Four Military personnel died in the clash, and another eight were wounded. Apparently, the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) declared Langlois a “prisoner of war,” on the grounds that he was captured in combat and was wearing an Army bulletproof vest and helmet, although he is believed to have taken off those items when he surrendered. With reference to the statement, Santos asserted on May 6 that “journalists are not, cannot be, never have been prisoners of war, and therefore, hopefully they will release him very soon.”last_img read more

Guatemalan Justice Authorizes Extradition of Alleged Drug-Trafficking Kingpin to U.S.

first_img On Aug. 6, a Guatemalan court authorized the extradition of alleged Guatemalan drug-trafficking kingpin Waldemar Lorenzana Lima, alias “El Patriarca,” considered to be the link between the Colombian mafia and the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel, to the United States. “We, the members of the Judicature, believe that the evidence submitted by the Public Prosecutor at the request of the Court of the District of Columbia, are valid for a favorable resolution of the requisition of the United States,” said Saul Alvarez, Chairman of the Third Court of Convictions. “El Patriarca” is wanted by the Court of Columbia, in New York, but today’s judgment may still be appealed to the Constitutional Court of Guatemala. Guatemala is the final stage of Central America’s drug trafficking route, which stretches from production regions in South America towards the United States’ market. Investigators believe that 90% of the cocaine consumed in the United States circulates through Central America. That chilling figure of 90% makes us a permanent target, not only of the countries of the region that are fighting against the drug gangs but of the U.S.and its multiple programs. By Dialogo August 08, 2012last_img read more

Illegal Medications Seized in 16 African Countries

first_img An unprecedented crackdown in 16 African countries netted 82 million doses of illegal or counterfeit drugs, including antibiotics, contraceptives and malaria treatments, the World Customs Organization (WCO) said on October 25. The operation, called Vice Grips 2, was carried out by customs inspectors in 16 ports from July 11 to 20, it said. “It is the biggest operation of its kind,” Christophe Zimmermann, in charge of anti-counterfeit operations at the WCO, said at a press conference in Paris. The street value of the drugs was $40 million, which points to commerce with an annual turnover of $5 billion, he said. The biggest hauls were made in Angola, Cameroon, Ghana and Togo. Most of the illicit drugs came from East and South Asia — particularly China — and the Middle East, notably Dubai. Illegal medications are a growing problem in Africa, as they may be toxic or fail to have a sufficient dose of active ingredient to combat a disease, Zimmermann and others said. Inspectors helped by a French anti-counterfeit agency searched 110 shipping containers, 84 of which were found to have illegal or fake medications. Some of the merchandise pointed to elaborate or even industrial-scale operations, the two agencies said. Inspectors found 33 million doses of fake medications, along with pornographic DVDs, that had been stashed deep inside a batch of loudspeakers that were being exported to Angola. None of the “drugs” had any active ingredient. In Togo, a smuggled batch of expectorant cough syrup, supposed to be kept at a cool, stable temperature of -2 to +4 degrees Celsius, was literally cooking in a container where the temperature was more than 50 C. “We are dealing with structured organizations that specialize in international fraud, which exploit globalization in operations that span continents and countries, using different forms of transport.” Two further operations would be staged in Africa over the next six months in order to maintain momentum on the drug fakers, said the WCO’s secretary general, Kunio Mikuriya. By Dialogo October 29, 2012last_img read more